Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who oversaw a military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils and stands accused of committing genocide, claimed that “war is never a solution” after a visit to the Palestinian embassy in Colombo on Monday.
“I have consistently supported the Palestinian cause as the Founder President of the Sri Lanka Society for Solidarity with Palestine," said Rajapaksa.
"War is never a solution," he added.
As Sri Lanka’s president, Rajapaksa launched a massive military offensive that culmninated in the massacre of tens of thousands in 2009. Hospitals were bombed, food and medicine embargoed and surrendering Tamils executed as the Sri Lankan military bombarded Mullvaikkal. At the time, Rajapaksa ignored all calls for a ceasefire and a negotiated end to hostilities.
Read more: 14 years today - A massacre in Mullivaikkal
The aftermath at Mullivaikkal, 2009.
Despites the crimes he oversaw, Rajapaksa has held close ties with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine in 2014 and was awarded the ‘Star of Palestine’, the highest honour award by the Palestinian state. In 2007 on Rajapaksa’s 62nd birthday, a road in Ramallah in his honour. The then Palestinian Ambassador to Sri Lanka sent Rajapaksa his birthday greetings, adding "under your able guidance Sri Lanka will see an era of peace and prosperity".
In addition to Rajapaksa, Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa also visited the Palestinian ambassador with MP Imtiaz Markar.